There are so many things to check off the list when you’re launching a new business, project, or brand. Because there’s so many moving parts, it can get overwhelming for people to know where to begin.
This is where I come in.
If you have to start ANYWHERE, start here. This is the one thing that will ensure you grow, build trust, and boost sales. In other words, this is the thing that will bring your business to life.
Focusing on this one area will inevitably impact just about every corner of your budding business or brand, which is why it’s my number one tip for entrepreneurs and content creators across the board.
This post will fill you in on how this strategy for growing your business will actually work, and why it’s effective time and time again.
Provide free useful content.
That’s it. That’s the number one tip.
And I know what you’re thinking, that’s it? That’s what all the hype is about?
Look, I get that in today’s day and age there’s free content everywhere, so it certainly doesn’t seem like a novel idea to provide free content to your audience. While this is true, this is also glazing over the most important word: USEFUL.
With all of the free content available in the world, how much of it is actually useful? Or much of it is just more noise? Or without purpose?
You’re here to change the pattern of meaningless content, by providing your audience with practical tools, takeaways, and tips that will actually improve their life in some way.
How to provide free useful content
We all know that social media is free to use (well, kind of now with the whole pay to play thing), and a free place to advertise.
Of course you can pay for ads, which is something we’ll cover in another post another day. But, for the most part, social media is a place where you can share things totally free. In other words, you can advertise your new ventures to your audience without anyone needing to pay for it- you or your audience.
Now, let’s refine how to share free useful content on social media.
Let’s use the example of a yoga or fitness instructor. Instead of only posting beautiful photos of yourself in complicated shapes with stunning landscapes, try to sprinkle in some instruction into your content.
With all of the features of social media, there’s so many ways to do it. You can stick to writing captions if you feel the most comfortable writing. You can overlay your photo or video with text that includes a few key cues or alignment tips to look out for. If you’re comfortable speaking on camera, then you can actually use your voice in the video while you’re teaching, or as a voice over.
I’m not saying that you need to transition ALL of your content to instructional only, because maybe part of your brand is the glimpse into your messy real life, instead of the curated stuff.
What I am saying is to make sure that you’re providing useful content regularly. As in, at least half or more of what you share is useful for your audience in some way.
Remember, your content on social media isn’t only grid posts. You can also provide free useful content to your community through your stories or lives, too!
Remember, you can also provide free useful content in other ways!
This blog is a great example. It’s totally free for you to read and learn from. You can also start a podcast, or do a limited series podcast on specific information related to your business. Newsletters are a great place to provide additional free useful content to your clients, as well as webinars, short ebooks or guides, or downloadable templates.
Why does providing free useful content help grow my business?
At this point, most people usually ask:
“If I’m providing all of this stuff for free, how am I supposed to actually get paid for anything?”
Getting paid is important! And, no, you don’t want to give away everything totally free- because…bills. But at the same time, you also can’t just shove sales down people’s throats 24/7, or they’ll get turned off.
Here’s the deal, providing free useful content to your audience helps to build trust. Trust improves sales. Think about it, people want to know that you actually know what you’re talking about before just giving their money to you, and hoping for the best.
Let’s continue with the example of yoga and fitness instructors, shall we.
Your goal is to grow your account so that you can teach retreats around the world, and not rely on the low hourly wage of single studio classes. Chances are, Many of your students from your studio classes would be the ones to sign up for your retreat, because they know the quality of your teaching, and they TRUST you to guide them through a deeper experience.
You want to cultivate that same trust with your online students, as well. Showcase your teaching a bit so that people know you’re worth the investment. Especially when we’re talking retreat prices, or online courses- these aren’t small ticket items. And most people aren’t going to chuck a grand at a stranger on the internet they stumbled upon one time.
Providing useful free content to your audience won’t take away from what you can sell, it will actually enhance it. Think of the free content as the appetizer to the main course. It’s still delicious, it curbs hunger, but there’s still plenty of room for more.
Free useful content is showing your clients that you actually know what you’re talking about, as well as piquing their interest to want to learn more.
How to maximize free content with sale items
If you sell anything online, then you’ve probably heard of a lead magnet. You want to have something that’s totally FREE for your consumers to listen to, download, read, watch, etc. before you jump in and sell them something.
This free item also requires clients to enter their email address in order to claim the freebie. This helps to grow your mailing list, which is a heck of a lot more valuable to you than a large social media following.
Before your next launch, try this method of providing a juicy, valuable freebie first. You want the lead magnet to be relevant to whatever it is that you’re selling so there’s a connection point between the two.
Continuing with the example of a yoga teacher looking to fill retreats- let’s say a new retreat is about to launch in Peru. You can write a short guide (think 3 – 5 pages) for traveling to Peru. You will highlight the area in particular where your retreat is, and maybe even the venue. Make sure it’s really visual and engaging, to help get people excited for the idea of going to Peru. Include the best airlines to fly, a packing list, and useful insight for someone going on your retreat.
Let’s take it a step further, as we really focus on the maximize component to this section. I know you might be thinking this sounds like more work for you, and doesn’t really maximize your time at all. However, this freebie guide will continually be helpful for you to use as a lead magnet to collect emails, or something to send out for free for all of the people who sign up for your retreat.
You want to use the free content you collect as an incentive, bonus, or perk down the line. You can recycle free content for as a prize in a giveaway, or as an add on to a purchase. For example, you could add your free travel guide as a bonus for anyone who signs up within the first week.
There are so many ways you can use free content to your advantage when you’re actually making sales, without depleting what you’re selling. Remember, free useful content is enhancing what you can sell- not taking away from it.
It’s time to put yourself out there, and show your audience that you know what you’re talking about, and you’re confident in your field!
You’ve got this, my friends.